'Psychotherapy Without the Self'

BY SUSAN SALTER REYNOLDS, Los Angeles Times, November 25, 2007

Los Angeles, USA -- Mark Epstein was a Buddhist before he became a psychiatrist. Much of his life's work has been an effort to integrate Buddhism (which embraces egolessness) and Western psychotherapy (which focuses intently on the self, the ego).

It is not so much that Buddhism denies the existence of self, Epstein explains up front, but that we in the West engage in too much hand-wringing over that ephemeral concept. Meditation can help loosen the grip of the self on the soul. Where does therapeutic analysis fit in the process of change?

Buddhism, Epstein writes, "is less about digging and more about opening..... In the classical Freudian view, the unconscious is the repository of forbidden urges and instincts, the awareness of which extends and completes the self.

In the Buddhist view, the unconscious represents the potential for enlightened consciousness, the latent knowledge that the self that we normally take to be so real has only relative, not absolute, reality."

Epstein is a clear writer and an insightful guide through the labyrinth. "Psychology Without the Self" has the odd effect of lightness: Burdens long carried seem to drop away as you read.

PSYCHOTHERAPY WITHOUT THE SELF: A Buddhist Perspective, by Mark Epstein. Yale University Press, 262 pp., $25.

The Buddhist Channel - Donate to Support Our Work

An Appeal

In deep gratitude for your support! We are half way to meeting our target (US$ 10,400 of US$ 18,000 already achieved)!

The Buddhist Channel is a dedicated group of "mindful communication practitioners" striving to make a positive impact on the Buddhist community. We deeply believe in the power of mindful journalism and are reaching out to you with a heartfelt request for your support. Your donation, no matter the size, can make a tangible difference in the lives of countless Buddhist monastics, local communities and other dedicated engaged workers. With your help, we make their stories known, and thereby opening up avenues for them to obtain sustainable support for their work.

Please indicate whether your support will be a donation or a loan. We will get back to you via email. We thank you in advance for providing us financial relieve. May the Buddha Dharma ever be your guide and protector.

Note: To date, we have received the following:

US$ 900 from Esa Myllykoski (donation)
US$ 9,500 from Lance Edwards/Kau Soo Kin (loan)

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv